Orygen welcomes the Victorian Government’s investment of $1.3 billion in new funding in the 2022-23 budget for mental health, building on last year’s budget of $3.8 billion.
Orygen’s executive director, Professor Patrick McGorry, said the government’s increased spending on mental health in the recovery phase of the pandemic and its continued commitment to implementing all of the recommendations from the final report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health system were critical inclusions in the 2022-23 budget. “This approach will mean that Victorians, and in particular young Victorians, will be able to bounce back from the adversities experienced over the past two years and go on to lead healthy and contributing lives,” Professor McGorry said.
The new funding includes:
- $372 million in workforce initiatives which will result in the recruitment of 1,500 new mental health workers across the state, including 400 mental health nurses, 100 psychiatrists and 300 psychologists;
- $490 million in acute, hospital-based care which will provide for 82 additional mental health beds at Northern and Sunshine Hospitals;
- $20 million for eating disorders including 15 mental health beds specifically for eating disorders, funding for Eating Disorders Victoria and the Centre for Excellence in Eating Disorders and funding to develop a new Victorian eating disorders strategy focused on early intervention and prevention;
- $29.3 million for supporting the implementation of the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act including training for the sector to deliver new models of care and help for Victorians to understand their rights, and a review of compulsory treatment criteria;
- $21 million for suicide prevention initiatives including aftercare and a pilot of a statewide peer call back service for families and supporters of people experiencing suicidal behaviour;
- $41.3 million to deliver mental health services in schools including $23 million for continued mental health practitioners in special schools;
- $9.1 million for social inclusion action groups in 10 local government areas, bringing community leaders and locals together and support for place-based mental health programs, including $1.1million for Youth Live4Life;
- $3.5 million for partnership with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.
- new beds and mental health and alcohol and other drug emergency department hubs in a number of regional Victorian locations; and
- $12 million in supports for parents of infants, children and young people accessing acute care in regional Victoria.
“The investment in boosting the workforce will be critical in the successful implementation of the Royal Commission’s vision for a world leading mental health system,” Professor McGorry said. “The range of initiatives across incentives, building the pipeline through scholarships, earn and learn models for wellbeing support roles, new positions in allied health, psychiatry and psychology will help address both short-term workforce supply and build the workforce for the future.”
Other measures for young people in the 2022-23 budget included:
- $1.3 million for the Empower Youth Program – connecting young people in areas of high socioeconomic disadvantage with work or education and nurturing their health and wellbeing;
- $600,000 for the Koorie Youth Council;
- $3.2 million for a trial of safe spaces for LGBTIQA+ young people in western Victoria – providing access to targeted mental health and wellbeing supports close to home; and
- $9.4 million over two years for the Homelessness After Hours Service and accommodation for 40 young people at Holmesglen Education First Youth Foyer.